New Year in Cambodia? Usually, my time between Christmas and New Year is spent mostly wearing pyjamas, watching Disney movies and working my way through a selection box. This Christmas though was a little different as on the 27th of December – instead of the most mobile thing I do being moving from bed to my sofa, Ollie and I jumped on a plane (actually, a tube, a train, two planes, a taxi and a tuk-tuk…) to make our way from cold London to sunny Cambodia. It was a pretty amazing trip – so I thought I’d share a Cambodia photo diary with you, and here is part one.
We actually spent very little time on the main land of Cambodia as we were staying on the island of Koh Rong – in a resort called Palm Beach. Now, one thing I learnt pretty quickly was that resort in Cambodian terms isn’t necessarily the same as resort in UK terms. It basically means it’s a decent step up from a typical back-packer place, but not on the same scale as a hotel. But more on this later.
The reason we were on Koh Rong was because we were there to visit Ollie’s brother, Ben – who lives on the island as that’s where he works (he runs an ecological dive site out there). So we decided it was a great opportunity to visit him and get some sun in the process. The island is a pretty insane journey to get to, after the long journey just to get to Cambodia itself, we then had to get a taxi (you can get a bus, but this takes longer) from Phnom Penh the capital to Sihanoukville, which took around 4/5 hours. Then from there we got on a boat to the island – normally this takes 2-3 hours, but the water was a tad choppy (I nearly lost my lunch) so it took nearly 4… not the most fun 4 hours of my life, but arriving to the beach that’s the thing of postcars and Pinterest dreams was worth it.
The accommodation on Koh Rong is idyllic in many ways, but also very basic. The whole island only has limited electricity, so the generators for the resort only run from 6-10pm. There’s no hot water and the shower is basically a pipe and shower head coming through the wall of a shed. The rooms are basically sheds, with gaps around the floorboards and on the roof – and as you can see above, we had some guests we were sharing with. This is George, the rather large gecko we shared our hut with (not for lack of trying to get him to leave, but they’re creatures of habit…). He was large, and noisy – as apparently, when Geckos are on heat, they like to shout like demented cuckoos. Which meant there were a few nights with little or no sleep (thanks to George…and the local cockerels on the island making us aware the moment the sun began to get close to making an appearance) but nothing that couldn’t be made up for with a sleep in a hammock on the beach.
But the beach was absolutely stunning – one day we took a walk over to the other side of the island to visit Five Mile Beach (also known as 7km Beach…) it was a long walk, around an hour and a half along beach, through jungle (eek!) and along pretty darn basic ‘roads’ (with about one moped on the whole thing). But when we got there it was stunning. The picture with the boat at the top is from the beach there. Pure turquoise water, perfect white sand and next to zero people. It was stunning.
Keep and eye out for part two of my Cambodia photo diary! More to come soon…along with another exciting travel post, from New York!